Alex Noren used a “dream start” to stay on course for a Scottish double as he reached the semi-finals of the Aberdeen Asset Management Paul Lawrie Match Play at sun-kissed Archerfield Links this morning.
The Swede, who won the Scottish Open backed by the same company at Castle Stuart last month, opened with five birdies then eagled the sixth as he beat compatriot Johan Carlsson 4&2 on the East Lothian coast.
Noren was a spectacular nine-under-par for the 16 holes as he set up a last-four clash with Englishman James Morrison in the afternoon semi-finals, where the other tie involves Anthony Wall and Oliver Fisher.
“It was a dream start,” admitted Noren, who chipped in over a bunker for his eagle. “It was one of those days everything goes your way and I’m very happy.”
Carlsson was five-under and also didn’t have a bogey on his card but was always fighting an uphill battle after Noren had stormed to the turn in 29, seven-under.
“He played nice and the only thing that let him down was his putting as he was perfect off the tee,” said Noren.
Morrison, who’d come into this week without managing to break par in his five previous events, ended in red figures for the fourth time as he beat Spaniard Alejandro Canizares 4&2.
Wall secured his semi-final spot with a spectacular finish against Haydn Porteous after he’d been hauled back to all square by the young South African with two holes to play.
The big Englishman birdied the par-17th to get his nose in front again before chipping in for an eagle-3 at the last.
“It’s not often you finish 2-3 on any course, so I am doubly chuffed,” said Wall. “I’m still not overly happy with my game, but I’ve been chipping well this week.”
Fisher, who is bidding to record his first European Tour win since 2011, progressed with a 3&2 win over German Maximillian Kieffer.
“I played a bit better on the back nine and made a couple of good birdies at the 14th and 15th, the first a gimme and the other from eight feet,” said the 27-year-old.
Oliver Fisher (Eng) bt Maximillian Kieffer (Ger) 3&2
Anthony Wall (Eng) bt Haydn Porteous (SA) 2 holes
Alex Noren (Swe) bt Johan Carlsson (Swe) 4&2
James Morrison (Eng) bt Alejandro Canizares (Esp) 4&2